Summer 2016 - Issue 42

The Summer 2016 issue of NarrowBoat includes the following features. You can purchase back issues online - click here for our shop.

Current NarrowBoat subscribers will be able to read the digital edition online. Read Issue 42 Summer 2016 online. You will need to log in and, if you have not already done so, enter your 6-digit subscriber number.


Front cover: John Dickinson & Co’s Lord Howe is seen heading through the early morning mist on the Grand Junction Canal. The boat was one of four patriotically named craft built for the company and was used to carry paper and other products. Little evidence survives of the boat’s exact livery so a degree of educated guesswork has been used to create this image.

Famous Fleets: John Dickinson & Co

Alan Faulkner looks at the express carrying fleet used by the large and well-known paper manufacturer John Dickinson whose paper mills were located alongside the Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire. In the 19th century, the company became established as one of the leading suppliers of stationery products and was an important customer of the Grand Union Canal Company. 

Unearthing History: Narrowboat Evolution

Chris M. Jones examines the changing shape of working narrowboats over 150 years by looking at fly-boats, slow-boats, barge features, living cabins and powered narrowboats.

Time and Place: End of an Era at Brentford

We look at a photograph of Brentford Gauging Dock in 1930 that epitomises the decline in canal carrying in the first half of the 20th century. The image features the boats of the canal-carrying company Emmanuel Smith & Sons, which was formed in 1922.    

Working on the Waterways: Testing the BCN

Christopher R. Jones follows an official examination trip undertaken by his boating ancestor, Edward James King, for the BCN during the summer of 1923. Due to the transport problems caused by World War I, from 1st March 1917 canals came under government control. However, in 1920 when this control ceased, many canal companies were left with a large backlog of maintenance. In 1923, the BCN did a test trip over its systems which would highlight any work that might be required. 

Picturing the Past: The Twilight Years of Samuel Barlow

A selection of images supplied by Patrick Rawlinson shows the latter carrying days of the Samuel Barlow Coal Co Ltd on the Grand Union Canal in the 1950s and ’60s.

Historical Canal Maps: Managing the Macclesfield

Richard Dean studies an 1891 atlas of the railway-owned Macclesfield Canal.

Picturing the Past: Carrying up Caen Hill

Chris M. Jones studies a horse-boating scene on the Kennet & Avon Canal in the late 19th century.

Life Afloat: Fly-boating on the Shroppie

Publisher Peter Silvester explains how a remarkable book on horse fly-boating a century ago was brought to publication, and introduces a typical chapter. There is very little literature on this subject, which makes Skipper Jack Roberts’ autobiographical work, Shropshire Union Fly-Boats, particularly interesting.

From the Archives: The Times

Joseph Boughey explores some fascinating waterway tidbits revealed in the digital archive of The Times, including 1930s plan to enlarge the Grand Union Canal, conditions on the Wey & Arun Navigation in 1915 and the selling of the Royal Military Canal by auction in 1935.

Time and Place: Last Days of Traffic at Banbury

We study a late 1950s photo that shows the final era of canal carrying to Banbury in Oxfordshire, and featuring Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd’s motor-boat, Hyperion, with a load of coal tied up against United Daires Ltd wharf.